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Loving Each Other Safely. Introduction and outline Who we are An outline of the session – People with learning disability – “Books beyond words”: rationale,

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Presentation on theme: "Loving Each Other Safely. Introduction and outline Who we are An outline of the session – People with learning disability – “Books beyond words”: rationale,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Loving Each Other Safely

2 Introduction and outline Who we are An outline of the session – People with learning disability – “Books beyond words”: rationale, ethos and development process – Experience of using Loving Each Other Safely

3 Who are ‘people with learning disabilities’ ?


5 2-3% of population

6 Learning disability Mental handicap Mental retardation Educationally subnormal Ineducable Feeble-minded Idiots / imbeciles Mongol

7 ‘Taboos’ in learning disability Death The disability itself Sexuality


9 Research project carried out by people with learning disabilities (with support) Drama groups Interviews with parents, carers, professionals

10 Young people with learning disabilities have a right to sex education There needs to be more accessible information and support for young people with learning disabilities and for their parents. This needs to include information about sexuality, abuse, and practical information such as where to get contraception. There should be more places for young people with learning disabilities to meet other young people and spend time together

11 Sex education should be improved through giving teachers access to more resources and more training, and building stronger links between schools and sexual health professionals. It should have a higher priority on the National Curriculum for people with learning disabilities There needs to be better training for teachers, sexual health professionals and learning disability nurses about delivering sex education or sexual health information for/ with people with learning disabilities Negative attitudes of professionals, parents and other people towards people with learning disabilities around the issue of sex and relationships need to be challenged by awareness raising and education.





16 Books beyond words A series of picture story books Therapeutic not educational Allow people to think and talk about their own experiences, hopes and fears Facilitate talking about difficult things Developed through an iterative process, involving people with learning disability in the editorial advisory group. A social enterprise, not for profit

17 Initial ideas for this book History of abuse Inappropriate sexual advances STIs Contraception Unwanted pregnancy Abortion Vulnerability to exploitation Sexual violence Lack of access to information Homosexuality Consent and capacity Sex and the law Fear of attending an STI clinic The mechanics of sex

18 In the end Everyone’s story Broad and narrow A little or a lot Meaning depends on experience

19 A teenage boy tells his brother about his experience of rejection He talks about his hopes and fears

20 Using Books Beyond Words as a means of communicating effectively and empowering people who have learning disabilities. Jane Williams

21 What happens if we don’t or can’t manage to do what others want us to do? Write down your thoughts on a post it. Carl Rogers argued that in these circumstances, carers, peers, parents. teachers or others may with hold their love, regard or attention from us. As a result of this, we learn to abandon our true feelings, wishes, & desires, for those of our parents or others whose approval or support we seek. This paves the way for us to become alienated from our true selves and invalidated. Often denied information and peer learning, people with a learning disability are denied the chance to develop in a way that’s personally meaningful. 21

22 How can the Books Beyond Words Series help? Something additional to education....something which takes us back to notions of equality and of empowerment..essentially something which is personally meaningful.. 22

23 Raising peoples narratives The person may be able to re-frame themselves in the light of the expression of their own stories: presenting a new, more skilled and empowered version of who they now are. Importantly the story, and our understanding will be authored and led by the reader 23

24 Not feeling alone; feeling part of a group. An important element in our working definition of empowerment is its group dimension. The interpersonal nature of our existence. It is necessary to recognise that empowerment does not occur to the individual alone, but has to do with experiencing a sense of connectedness with other people. Our book groups are an excellent vehicle for this and during 1:1 sessions, the shared development of a narrative can flatten the power differentials that often exist between us all.

25 Lets have a look at the books Dorothy will show us how........

26 What’s happening here? How is he feeling? Ok Mmm I see 26

27 Feedback.......How did it feel? 27

28 What others say about the books “Enables people with special needs to explore their emotions. When Somebody Dies makes a timely and valuable contribution to the field of bereavement work.” British Journal of Special Education “These books are powerful interpretive tools for anyone who works with people with developmental disabilities.” Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology “The Books Beyond Words series works because people with a learning disability and professionals work together as equals in producing them.” Viewpoint “These books are an excellent way of promoting discussion about difficult topics.” Communication (National Autistic Society) “The pictures use expressions, body language and colours to spell out clear, unambiguous messages.” Times Educational Supplement Extra for Special Needs "The acid test for these publications has to be whether or not one would find them useful in clinical practice... my own answer would be an unequivocal 'Yes'."- Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 28


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